In the evolving field of healthcare, biofeedback, as a treatment and evaluation tool, is playing an increasingly more important role. Biofeedback is used by a diversity of health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, physiatrists, physical and occupational therapists and physicians in various specialties have come to use biofeedback, either independently or as an adjunctive technique, with positive results.
The Expert Series is an on-going series of interviews with leading clinicians in the field of biofeedback lending the insights and techniques they have acquired through their many years of practice.
Thought Technology is very pleased to be part of this educational project. For over 25 years, Thought Technology has been committed to making biofeedback more accessible through innovation in technology and educational initiatives.
The Expert Series interviewed Dr. Ray Folen.
Dr. Folen is employed by the U.S. federal government. He has worked at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii since 1984 and serves as Chief of the Behavioral Medicine and Health Psychology Service.
He became interested in psychophysiological monitoring during his junior year in college, when he was studying the "incubation of threat" effect. He did further study in biofeedback after finishing graduate school and has been engaged in a number of interesting projects, one with NASA entitled "Autogenic Training and Pilot Performance During Emergency Flying Conditions". The most notable experience about that project was his required presence in the airplane while the engines were being shut down in order to simulate emergency flying conditions.
Tripler's area of responsibility spans more than 52 percent of the entire earth's surface.
Dr. Ray Folen
What is Tripler?
Tripler Army Medical Center is the largest military medical treatment facility in the entire Pacific Basin and is located eight miles from Waikiki. Tripler's area of responsibility spans more than 52 percent of the entire earth's surface. It is the only Army medical center not located on the United States Mainland. Close to 800,000 people are eligible to receive care at the Pacific Regional Medical Command's premier teaching medical center. This includes active-duty service members of all branches of service; their eligible families; military-eligible retirees and their families; veterans; and many Pacific Island Nation residents.
What is telehealth, and what are the benefits as a clinician and a patient?
We have soldiers and sailors deployed to many remote settings where highly specialized care is not available. Biofeedback, for example, is not available on our bases in Japan, Korea or Guam, where we have a large number of personnel. In order for them to receive biofeedback services, the patient must be flown to Hawaii and housed for the duration of the treatment. This may take up to 10 weeks or more, which leaves the remote duty station understaffed for that period of time. As a result, having the capability to provide health care and health information across great distances by utilizing the latest telecommunications technology (the definition of telehealth) is of great interest to us, since it provides the patient with significantly improved access to care. Several years ago, Dr. Larry James wrote the first grant proposal for us to utilize telehealth technology and we've been at it ever since. We are now providing treatment services to patients located thousands of miles away.
The patient is able to remain with his or her family and can continue to engage in regular work duties.